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Vacation Rental Management: How to Manage Negative Reviews From Guests




Why Reviews Are Important 

Guest feedback holds a lot of power when it comes to bookings for your unit. You may have noticed a drop in bookings if you've gotten a less-than-ideal review. For new properties, this can be scary as it becomes defining to their reputation if they only have a few reviews.   

While one or a few lower reviews are not detrimental, they can be challenging to bounce back from. Always keep guest satisfaction as a top priority to avoid bad ratings.   

What to Do If You Get Bad Reviews  

Navarre Beach House

1. Breathe  

It can be tempting to reply to negative feedback as soon as you see it. In the heat of the moment, it feels like you need to address the guest's feedback immediately. While being responsive shows that you are proactive, taking some time to breathe and reflect before responding to guests is always better.   

Most listing sites give you at least 14 days to respond to reviews/ guest feedback. This time will help you address the situation and respond to the guest appropriately.   

At Pensacola Beach Properties, guest feedback and reviews are managed by guest services, owner relations, and marketing teams. This takes some stress and responsibility away from the owners and allows an objective third-party to address the concerns.   

2. Remain Objective   

Sometimes, responses to reviews can deter guests from a property more than the property or review itself. Once you've had enough time to reflect on the guest's feedback, take the opportunity to craft an objective response to the reviewer.   

Use the review to evaluate where your property falls short, areas to improve, or ways that you could have made the guest's experience better. Sometimes, when guests mention specific situations or issues, it is better to let them know that you'll address them directly. Happier guests will likely list minor complaints, if any, and leave an overall positive review. Unhappy guests are more likely to describe their grievances, so it may be better to discuss that with them privately.   

Sometimes, people will leave you a star rating and not provide any commentary. With these, it can be better to ask for more information directly if the rating is low. If it is positive, thank them for the review and move on.   

3. Be Forward with Your Response   

Once you've had time to reflect on the review and the guest's experience, it's time to respond! Of course, it can be easy for emotions to take over here but keep objectivity in mind. You should be proud of your property, but don't scare off future guests! Let the person know you hear them and are working to improve the situation. Gracefully handling negative feedback will always lead to better results in the long run.   

Take Action  

  • Cleanliness  

One of the most common things brought up in negative reviews for vacation rentals is cleanliness. Nobody wants to check into a property with dust, dirt, or hair leftover from a past stay.   

Be sure to make cleanliness king for your rental. If guests read that your property is always clean, they will likely book that one over another.   

Monitoring cleans between turns can become difficult, especially for property owners living out of town. If you are in this situation, consider finding a vacation rental management company to oversee your property. At Pensacola Beach Properties, our inspectors go in after each clean to be sure that the unit meets our cleanliness standards before guests arrive. Vacation Rental Management companies can help you maintain the quality of your vacation home and alleviate some stress.   

  • Upgrades  

Another subject of bad reviews is when a property is missing some serious upgrades. When guests go on vacation, they expect to be able to use WIFI, stream shows on a smart tv, and be greeted with modern décor and furniture. You wouldn't want to book a vacation only to discover you'll be spending the week watching movies with DVDs or staying in a room with shag carpet, would you? While you shouldn't have to spend an arm and a leg on amenities and upgrades, you don't want your rental to be considered "outdated" either. You can refer to our vacation rentals amenities checklist to be sure that your home is up to date.  

Stella Maris Navarre

  • Pricing   

If you only have a few reviews, amenities may not cause a guest to choose your property over another, more well-reviewed one. If some of those reviews are negative, encouraging guests to stay at your property will be increasingly more challenging.   

If your property is sitting empty for a while, a great way to encourage travelers to book it is by temporarily adjusting your pricing. Offering lower rates for a short time is a great way to get guests in the door and leave positive reviews.   


A bad review on popular booking sites such as Airbnb, Vrbo, or other listing sites may hurt your vacation rental's reputation for a short period. This doesn't have to mean that you should hit the panic button! Remain calm, objective, and transparent in addressing negative reviews. This will help you create an action plan to move forward and tackle negative reviews on your vacation rental.   


It's Time to Get Started!     

Let Us Handle the Process from Start to Finish      

A partnership with us makes renting your vacation rental property more effortless than ever. Our top priority is helping owners grow and protect their vacation rental investment. Stress less and earn more with our process! For a free revenue estimate, click here to see your property's rental potential!    



Published by Emily Seay
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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